nondual considerations by johnboyphilothea


									RE: This energy brings with it the promise of a new future, a future born not from the
past but from the eternal moment. And it carries the joy of life, unpolluted and
unconditioned. It is impersonal and powerful
Look at this schema, where I refer to an "intraobjective identity" and this may
correspond to the impersonal reality of which you speak. I am sure you have come
across panentheism. My approach is close to that but not identical to it. The
distinction I would offer is this. We can distinguish between different aspects of our
experience of reality and different aspects of reality itself. Rather than aspire to
robustly describe aspects of reality that yet remain beyond our horizon, I tend to focus
on describing our experiences, which are quite undeniable even if they leave us
perplexed regarding the precise nature of their origin and essential nature. That way,
we avoid proving too much, saying more than we can possibly know, or telling
untellable stories.

So, in my interpretation (not description) of our "experience" of reality (not reality, in
and of itself), I very much affirm an intraobjective (not inter- because that is dualistic,
not subjective because that is personal) experience of our radical solidarity with reality
as we interact with it moreso "functionally" and less so personally.
None of this is to suggest that the intuitions that flow from our experiences do not
have ontological implications; rather, it is to provide a caveat regarding our ability to
articulate what is often, in principle, ineffable or, at best, vague.
Our traditions are in touch with this aspect of interaction and speak of it in many
ways, such as the Tao, such as going with the flow, such as with references to subtle
energy paradigms, such as in enlightenment, such as in nondual realization, and
maybe more to the point from our own Western Hesychast tradition which speaks of
the uncreated energy of God, drawing a distinction between God's Divine essence and
God's divine energy or operations (think of our recent celebration of the
Transfiguration and the Light). Many think that Orthodox and Roman Catholicism
cannot be reconciled vis a vis this distinction but I am in the camp that believes it can,
with sufficient nuance.

Hesychasm may be of special interest to your prayer group, which is initiated in
centering prayer. This simplicity in prayer is so very well suited to that stage of life
and of the spiritual journey that is disposed to contemplation and utter simplicity.
Those who persist in their awareness of God may well, I believe, be better prepared to
perceive the Divine activity, whether it be interpreted via a distinction between God's
essence and energies or as an anticipatory or proleptic realization of the beatific glory.

Of course, once we look behind the curtain of this "impersonal" experience, our
theology will suggest that it derives, nonetheless, from a supremely personal being.

Succinctly, whoever wrote that is one of my soulmates, saying mostly the same things
that I believe in much the same way even! Thanks for sharing! See my own
"quarternary" schema below.

Of course this affirms THAT miracles occur (via a vague interpretation of reality) but
this does not begin to suggest HOW they occur (via any robust description of reality).
I will offer some distinctions. From the descriptive sciences, we have String Theory,
most versions of which rely on 11 dimensions, some (bosonic) suggest as many as 26.
We are not using the word "dimension" in the same sense, though, when doing human
anthropology and suggesting, for example, as I do, the rather classical dimensions of
body, soul, spirit and true self. Furthermore, the author's use of the term,
pneumatosphere, is theological (interpretive) and neither scientific nor metaphysical
(both descriptive).

The difference between the interpretive and descriptive is highly nuanced, so I will
oversimplify it here. The descriptive deals with empirical facts and measurements and
is merely INFORMative. The interpretive ties-together the descriptive (is that a fact?),
evaluative (what's it to us?) and normative (what's the best way to acquire or avoid it?)
and so is robustly PERFORMative, which is to say that it influences our responses to
reality, what I call the "existential disjunctive" or, more simply, "I will therefore act as
if ..." and so ... let us not act as those who have no hope!
Because we do interpret reality as if it is headed somewhere and guided along the
way, when certain events happen in our lives that are quite extraordinary and beyond
science's ability to describe, it is not unreasonable to characterize them as isolated,
proleptic (anticipatory) realizations of a fullness of reality that is yet to come, as
extraordinarily full pneumatological breakthroughs providing us "down payments" or
"first fruits" or "guarantees" or "earnest agreements" of an eternal glory, an
eschatological reality. (The "Our Father" well captures both the now and proleptic
dimensions, eh?) Now, because such events are relatively isolated and incredibly
unique, defying patterns and predictability, they will not, by definition and in
principle, lend themselves to scientific or even metaphysical descriptions (at least not
good, reliable, credible accounts). Again, we believe THAT miracles occur but we do
not aspire to explain HOW, precisely because their nature defies explanation.

I will also enclose my article from last year, which you can share with anyone, along
with this exchange. I haven't distributed it widely because it is not intended for a
general audience but was written, as they say, for the guild. But it has some places that
should be generally accessible, especially for those of you who have been well
initiated by my esoterica :)
Recall that John of the Cross noted how, even in mortal sin, we are never separated
from God insofar as He continues to hold us in existence. Also, some theologians
speak of creatio continua in addition to creatio ex nihilo, a distinction that suggests
that not only must God have created out of nothing (ex nihilo) but must not forget us
for a nanosecond but "continue" the act of creation that we not fall out of existence.
There are many aspects to reality that we could label tacit and I have written of this
"tacit dimension" as being ineluctably unobtrusive but utterly efficacious. This is the
"soft power" of the Tao and of the gentle Holy Spirit as distinguished from the "hard
power" of so many of our human interventions. Also, many in the church's mystical
tradition, up to and including Keating, well describe the Divine Indwelling. The
wording and terminology will variously change as we move from one perspective to

the next, philosophically, metaphysically, theologically, religiously, anthropologically
and so on, or from sacramental to ascetical to mystical to pastoral theology and
formative spirituality. I say this by way of suggesting that the Church does say such
things but we run into different models and different jargon is all.
You mentioned something about unholy spirits and I was not sure what you meant in
this context. I know that increasingly many are abandoning such notions as demons
and such. I would only point out that folks like Scott Peck, even, based on clinical
experience, came to the conclusion that, however literally true or not, it remains a
useful "construct." Fr. Benedict Groeschel described similar "encounters" from his
extensive pastoral experience. Amos and I treat the reality in a footnote in our article.
Perhaps what is of over-riding importance is that, ultimately, in the end, however real
or not, the reality of demons will have "accomplished" naught, will be found to be an
empty suit, impotent, powerless, defeated. Even now, they are like the British in
Chalmette fighting the Battle of New Orleans in a War that was already over. For
now, it's best, I believe, we look 'em in the eye and fire our spiritual muskets.

The pneumatic dimension:
The presence of God in the human heart and its therapeutic function
The inclusion of the pneumatic dimension
Let us begin with the “dimensional ontology” endorsed by Viktor Frankl in his
Logotherapy meaning by it the hierarchical structure of biological-somatic,
psychological and spiritual-noetic dimensions of the human being. In his terminology
the term “spiritual” does not have religious meaning but refers to what is specifically
human, the realm of responsibility, freedom, decisions and search for meaning and he
refers to it often also as noological or noetic dimension (from the Greek ‘noos’ word
meaning ‘mind’)
Frankl’s stress to free the term “spiritual” as he used it from any religious connotation
is inspired by the wish to keep Logotherapy open for all independently of their beliefs
and his effort of keeping religion and psychiatry apart did not mean the denial the
validity of the religious sphere which would mean a form of reductionism against
which he fought insistently. He sees them as belonging to different dimensions and
adds: “From the very analogy of dimensions, however, it should become clear that
these realms are by no means mutually exclusive. A higher dimension, by definition,
is a more inclusive one. The lower dimension is included in the higher one; it is
subsumed in it and encompassed by it. Thus biology is overarched by psychology,
psychology by noology, and noology by theology” . Here we see an indication of an
all-encompassing fourth dimension, to which religion and specifically theology
belongs. This we call “pneumatic” dimension (from the Greek word "pneuma" for
“spirit”; here alluding to the Holy Spirit of God) and it was explicitly introduced by
the Frankl scholar Donald F. Tweedie.

A further example for treating the pneumatic dimension is found in the work of Lou
Marinoff. “Marinoff is influenced by Frankl, fights like Frankl against reductionism
(biologism and psychologism), and adds to the somatic (Biology: wellness versus
illness; province of medicine), psychic (Affect: order versus disorder; province of
psychology), and noetic dimension (= he calls it the "philosophical dimension")
(Thought: Ease versus Dis-ease; province of philosophy) the pneumatic dimension
(Spirit). Marinoff's "Golden Triangle" where the fourth or pneumatic dimension
(Spirit) lies above (see the picture in the book "Philosophical Practice", p. 96) is very
similar to Frankl's dimensional ontology - but Marinoff mentions the pneumatic
dimension here”.
Frankl used the analogy of the point of perspective that lies outside of the picture but
without it the image has no correct proportions and sense of depth to illustrate that
God although stands outside of the human life but gives meaning to it. With the
inclusion of the pneumatic dimension so to speak we draw this “point of perspective”
in our view of the human being. The inclusion of the fourth dimension from Catholic
(and from most Protestant) point of view has its foundation in the presence of the
Holy Spirit in every human being created in the image of God and particularly in the
teaching about the indwelling of the Trinity as a gift of God in the soul. Thus the
pneumatic dimension is not simply a facet of the human existence but its very core,
which permeates and organizes all other dimensions and is the source of the
uniqueness of the human person and of its communication with God. “…God himself
as the abiding and holy mystery, as the incomprehensible ground of man’s
transcendent existence is not only the God of infinite distance, but also wants to be the
God of absolute closeness in a true self-communication, and he is present in the
spiritual depths of our existence as well as in the concreteness of our corporeal
history” .The “human trinity” (somatic, psychic, noetic dimensions) created on the
image of the divine Trinity has this fourth dimension, which is the ground of its
existence and a special dimension of communication through grace with God, and so
we have a “quaternity”. During the Middle Ages there were representations of the
divine “Quaternity”, bringing in God a human, feminine figure, often the Blessed
Virgin Mary. Might we say that God has something human in him, not only because
of the Incarnation but also as an immanent feature? > While classical Logotherapy
should avoid the confusion with religious connotation, a really holistic Catholic
approach to healing and growth in general, as Christotherapy, can and should take into
its field of work all the four dimensions of the human being. Moreover, the pneumatic
dimension constitutes its specific area, meaning by this that Christotherapy offers a
way to healing in problems specific of the pneumatic dimension (for example healing
from sinful and destructive tendencies where Christotherapy relies on the dynamics of
the Spiritual Exercises). On the other hand when a change occurs on the pneumatic
level, it will influence the somatic, psychic and noetic dimensions as well. For
example, the effects of forgiveness might resound on the somatic level, including
physical healing as in he story of the paralyzed young man in Mark’s gospel (2:2-12).
Jesus says to the paralytic “Child, your sins are forgiven” and this healing on
pneumatic level - since it was a reconciliation with God - the young man becomes
able to get up, take his mat and go home.

Pneumatic unconscious
When Logotherapy included the noological dimension in psychology it meant in
particular the introduction of the noetic also in depth psychology, in the psychology of
unconscious. While psychoanalysis considered only the instinctual unconscious,
Frankl pointed out the existence of the “spiritual” (noetic) unconscious. It is the realm
of the conscience, art and love, it manifest itself in responsibleness, moral conscience,
intuition, and artistic creativity for example. Human existence itself is unconscious, as
it cannot be made totally conscious and reflected upon, and all dimensions of the
human being extend on the unconscious, preconscious as well as on the conscious
level. The modified dimensional ontology of four dimensions shows the existence of
the “pneumatic unconscious” as well, that part of the pneumatic dimension that cannot
be fully reflected upon, or brought into consciousness but is at the “depth” of the
human person. The phenomenon that occur in the unconscious depths of the
pneumatic dimension fall into the realm of religious conversion, religious intuition or
inspiration by the Holy Spirit, mystical experience of the indwelling God and similar.
I would say that the so-called charismatic phenomena, relying on the gifts of the Holy
Spirit, like prophetic insights and healing experiences belong to he manifestations of
the “pneumatic unconscious”.

The pneumatic dimension is the “place” (not in spatial sense) of communication with
the indwelling God and this inner dialog is often unconscious even if it might have
initiated by a conscious desire that is when one begins to pray. All prayer can reach
the depths of the pneumatic unconscious but this characteristic is more manifest and
directly intended in non-conceptual contemplative prayer, sometimes called also the
prayer of the “heart”, to which category also centering prayer and the Jesus prayer
belongs. The Christian mystical life is the living and transforming dialog with the
indwelling God, and the fruits of this dialog are realized in the concreteness of love
outward. Thus to be mystics means to love all creatures of God from the source of
love in the depths of one’s pneumatic dimension.

The works of St. John of the Cross reveal much of the dynamics of the intimacy
between the person and the indwelling Trinity through the pneumatic unconscious.
God is communicating with the human person through his grace but this is always a
self-communication; in this way one grows in knowledge and love of the Trinity and
participates in the divine nature although remaining distinct creature. St. John of the
Cross’ writings show that paradoxically the self-communicating God, as one grows in
intimacy with him becomes experienced more and more as inaccessible and
transcendent, “hidden God”. The first stanza of The Spiritual Canticle expresses in a
form of lyrical love poem the tension of this experience as the lover complaints of the
painful absence of the Beloved:
> ¿Adonde te escondiste, > Amado, y me dejaste con gemido? > Como il cervo huiste
Habiendome herido; > Salí tras ti clamando, y eras ido > > Where have You hidden, >
Beloved, and left me moaning? > You fled like the stag > After wounding me; > I
went out calling You and You were gone.

St. John also offered a commentary to the Canticle and in connection with this stanza
he speaks of the “hidden” (unconscious) presence of the indwelling Trinity in the
innermost being of soul (pneumatic dimension) thus adding to the ontological
reference of the presence of God in the pneumatic dimension an experiential
characterization, it is unconscious: “It should be known that the Word, the Son of
God, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is hidden by His essence and His
presence in the innermost being of the soul. A person who wants to find Him should
leave all things through affection and will, enter within himself in deepest
recollection, and regard things as though they were nonexistent. St. Augustine,
addressing God in the Soliloquies, said: I did not find You without, Lord, because I
wrongly sought You without, Who were within. God, then, is hidden in the soul and
there the good contemplative must seek Him with love, exclaiming: "Where have you

When a person gets closer to God instead of becoming less free, so to say crushed by
the overwhelming grandeur of the Absolute, he or she will grow not only in faith,
knowledge and love of God, but in personal freedom and in other specifically human
areas; and sometimes might experience even psychosomatic benefit. It might be said
that God retreats, hides in the unconscious to give space for the creature and let him or
her be transformed and reach spiritual and human maturity: St John explains the
hiddenness of God in this way: "Yet you inquire: Since He Whom my soul loves is
within me, why don't I find Him or experience Him? The reason is that He remains
concealed and you do not also conceal yourself in order to encounter and experience

The person’s deepest actions in the pneumatic dimension remain unconscious,
because of the intensity involved one cannot reflect upon oneself similarly to the
conscience, love and art on the human noetic level. In the pneumatic dimension
conscience, love and intuition is informed by grace, infused by the Holy Spirit; here
the human existence with its unconscious depths opens up and “runs” into God. God
however is not a puppeteer in its relationship to the human being. The grace of God
when assists the conscience in its depths does not takes away the freedom of the
creature but increases it to its fullest potential and autonomy; similarly, the works
inspired by the Holy Spirit are fully human achievements and the love infused by
grace is most authentically the love of the person.

Frankl pointed out that although conscience is unconscious still we could explore
some of its operation through dreams. In the existential analysis of dreams are
interpreted as messages from the conscience originated in the noetic, human
dimension. In the modified dimensional ontology we see the foundation and source of
conscience reaching in the pneumatic dimension and certain dreams might be
interpreted as messages from this depth, from the indwelling Trinity. Scriptural
examples of such messages are the dreams of St. Joseph in the infancy narrative of the
gospel of Matthew (chapters 1 and 2); in these dreams the “angel of the Lord”
(representing God’s intervention) delivers the messages of which one is the
explanation of the situation with Mary and there are warning dreams of possible
danger. In the analysis of such dreams the interpreter as well relies partially on the
unconscious depths when recognizes a dream as authentic message from the
indwelling God. The interpretation of such inspired dreams needs to be done with the
help of grace with discernment and cautiously; the same is valid for these phenomena
than for the so-called private revelations: they are authentic if they help live in faith,
love and hope and are in harmony with the faith of the Church.

The pneumatosphere
It seems that we might speak of a pneumatoshpere, which like the noosphere and
biosphere constitutes our environment. The pneumatosphere is not restricted to the
Church since the Holy Spirit acts in all mankind, although the Church receives a
special guidance for its mission. Similarly as the other “spheres” the pneumatosphere
sometimes gets “polluted” and as in case of collective noogenic neurosis we witness
the influence of collective neurosis of pneumatic origin. God respects the freedom of
the human person and although his presence cannot be destroyed and the spiritual
(noetic and pneumatic) core of the human person cannot get sick, the thirst of the
human heart for God sometimes gets frustrated – maybe often because of the lack of
authentically presented and lived faith on the part of the Church. The frustrated search
for the Ultimate Meaning in God tends to manifest itself in symptoms of pseudo-
religiosity. I think that collective neurosis of pneumatic origin appears not only in the
cults, New Age and countless esoteric practices, healing gurus but also in distortions
of Christian religiosity as well. The healing of this type of neurosis requires therapies
like Christotherapy that reach to the pneumatic sphere and discover spiritual,
pneumatic methods of therapy to use them along with classical Logotherapy and

November 19, 2005 > Copyright © 2005 Our Lady of the Graces Hermitage. All
rights reserved. >
Throughout this writing for additional clarity I will use the term noological or noetic
for the third dimension.
For example in Viktor Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul, (New York: Knopf, 1965) p.
xi. Viktor Frankl, The Unconscious God, (New York: Washington Square Press,
1985) p.13.
See the presentation of fourth dimension in Donald F. Tweedie, The Christian and the
Couch. An Introduction to Christian Logotherapy, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book
House, 1963) pp. 48-58.
This quote is from a communication with Dr. Reinhard Zaiser Ph.D. Logotherapist
and Existential Analyst, member of the American Philosophical Practitioners
Association (APPA). Cf. Lou Marinoff, Philosophical Practice, (San Diego,
NewYork, London: Academic Press, 2002) pp. 96-97. Marinoff is a philosophy
professor at the City College and New York and president of APPA > <!--[if !
Cf. Viktor Frankl, Homo Patiens, (Wien: Franz Dietcke, 1950) p. 86. Quoted in
Robert C. Leslie, Jesus as Counselor, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1968)
Karl Rahner, Foundations of the Christian Faith, (New York: The Seabury Press,
1978). P.137.
Once I saw an interesting illustration of the Star of David, composed of two
equilateral triangles; the pointing up represents the “human trinity” and the other the
divine “Trinity”. In this imagery the fourth “dimension” is this superposed divine
triangle. The illustration was intended as a symbol of Jesus, Son of David, perfect
man and perfect God. We could play with the thought that in the case of all other
humans the two triangles are more or less perfectly superposed…
See the detailed presentation of this gospel “case study” in Leslie, “Jesus as
Counselor,” pp. 55-63.
See the chapter “The Spiritual Unconscious” in Frankl, “The Unconscious God,” pp.
The “heart” as Hebrew biblical concept sometimes means the whole person, more
often the center of the human being, the source of all faculties not associated only
with the emotions as in Western culture and it seems to refer also to the pneumatic
From The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh,
OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD., (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies,
1979) p.712. Ibid., commentary to the first stanza, sixth point, p. 418. The quote of St.
Augustine is in Pseudo-Augustine, Soliliquiorum animae ad Deum liber unus, c.30:PL
40, 888.
Ibid., ninth point of the commentary of the first stanza, p. 419.
Cf. Frankl, “The Unconscious God,” pp. 40-51.


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